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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fear of the dentist

Well, I got the battered and broken tooth pulled yesterday evening.

I was going to book for today, but they got a cancellation and asked me to go up yesterday evening at 5pm. I hadn't really any time to chicken out or think about it too much which was a good thing I suppose. I must admit though, it was very painful - although probably not as bad as some of the toothaches I've been having.

Anyway, on to today's racing.

The favourites strategy hit a new high yesterday of over 20pts. Absolutely delighted with that and while it is early days yet, it is going well. I'm still going to hold off on the big bucks for now until I test it a bit more. There's one bet on that today, Black Thunder 2.40 Kempton, but it actually clashes with the bet I've put in Saturday's Irish Independent article for that race (see below).

Don't think I'll get to see much racing - I want to take my daughter out to the cinema as I haven't spent much time with her all week due to my tooth. I'll tape it and catch up later. Enjoy the day,



FIRST ran in 2002, the Leamington Novices Hurdle (3.00 Warwick) is now over a decade old, but there's actually been just eight renewals of the grade two contest as poor weather conditions called a halt to proceedings in 2003, 2009, and 2010. Those of us who write about horseracing get a bit of stick if we tip too many favourites - and so we should because any Joe Soap can open a newspaper and circle the jolly. But from the small amount of data we have from this race so far, opposing the favourite here could be a costly exercise with six of the last eight market leaders all going on to win. I hope readers will forgive me then for siding with The New One at 5/4, which is one of the more exciting horses to come out of Nigel Twiston-Davies' yard of late. Other than Inglis Drever, there are no real superstars in the list of previous winners so I won't be getting over-excited about whichever horse goes on to win today - although it must be noted that bookmakers have seen some ante-post interest in The New One for the Neptune Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and he now trades as low as 12/1 in places for that race. He comes here with a decent enough CV and was one of last season's better bumper horses; with his only defeat in four of those races coming in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. He made a winning start over timber when taking a decent novice hurdle at Newton Abbott on the first day of October and followed up that victory with another win later in the month at Cheltenham. While he remained in control in both of those races, he didn't always jump fluently which is a minor cause for concern although I'm told that Twiston-Davies has been doing plenty of schooling at home to get his jumping right. The one most likely to follow him home is Dursey Sound, which should go off around 9/4. He won a bumper at Galway for Charlie Swan before being sold to go hurdling across the water and he duly obliged with victory in his first two races over obstacles at Uttoxeter and Wetherby. He lost little in defeat to Easter Day in a novice hurdle at Ascot last time and he's one to stick in the notebook for the future. For something a priced a little higher, consider Dark Lane in the Blue Square Bet Sprint Series Round 2 Handicap at Lingfield (1.25), priced around 7/1. The seven-year-old won a claimer at Kempton on Sunday but the handicapper hasn't had a chance to reassess his mark yet so he comes here with an automatic 6lb penalty. Whether or not that is enough to hold him back remains to be seen but connections have booked Philip Prince to ride and his 7lb claim as an apprentice might just be the difference between winning and losing.

BOTH Bear's Affair and Black Thunder should prove popular in the betting for this afternoon's Lanzarote Hurdle (2.40 Kempton) but as topweight and second-topweight respectively, they may find themselves struggling in the business end of the race. Instead, a chance is taken on the Warren Greatrex trained Oscar Prairie which trades at 16/1 and higher in the early markets. He was pulled up a number of times in some handicaps at the start of the season but finally bounced back to form when runner-up at 66/1 at Wincanton last week. He's an unpredictable sort and it's not a race for heavy punting but the assessor has left him in with a chance and he can land a place at the least if running to form.   

Soccer: MANCHERSTER United v Liverpool is still the biggest fixture in English football and despite the latter's poor league showing in recent years, the possibility of an upset must always be factored in. But as punters, we can only focus on the facts and form in front of us and with all the evidence strongly pointing to a Red Devils victory tomorrow, odds of 10/11 on the home side to win represent tremendous value.
Horseracing: JUST five runners go to post for the opening claiming stakes on the polytrack at Lingfield (11.45), with Ajeeb looking the pick of the bunch at 13/8. He's a consistent sort that has been running to form in some handicaps this term and his second place to Harry Buckle here recently gave the impression that he's still open to improvement. A drop in class should see him go one place better today. 

11.45 Lingfield: Ajeeb
1.25 Lingfield: Dark Lane
1.50 Warwick: Highland Lodge
2.40 Kempton: Oscar Prairie (e/w)
3.00 Warwick: The New One

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